Jesus' Call To "Follow Me" -Hebrews 12:1-3
John 21 paints for us a portrait of God's mercy and grace. Here we see Jesus, the resurrected, going to the sea where his disciples were fishing. He prepares breakfast and it is during this time that he restores Peter who had denied him. He asks him thrice if Peter loved him. Jesus said, "Feed my sheep." And when Peter asked about John, Jesus told Peter that it is not his business. Jesus told him, "You follow me."
Jesus' call to "follow me" is the point of Hebrews 12:1-3. It is a call to persevere, looking unto Jesus!
1. Learn from the lives of the great cloud of witnesses. They have lived by faith and they have set the example for us to follow. They engaged themselves in the work of godly living. Good works resulted from their genuine faith.
2. Run without encumbrances and sin. "Lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us." See also 1 Cor. 9:27. There is urgency in putting away what distracts us so that we can run without impediments! See 2 Tim 4:7. Finish the course! Keep the faith!
3. Fix our eyes on Jesus! This is a call to turn our eyes away from other things so that our focus is on Jesus. HE is the author (the originator, the lead, the chief, the standard, the pioneer, the champion) AND HE is THE perfecter of our faith!" (the one who completes the good work begun in us)! "For the joy that was set before him [he] endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God." Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted."
Note how the author of Hebrews used not Christ's title but his human name, "Jesus." Jesus endured the cross and thought nothing of the shame. Consider (think over, ponder upon) HIM so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
Now, Jesus is our High Priest. He is seated at the right hand of the throne of God! He is our Mediator who intercedes for us!
As demonstrated by the lives of "the great cloud of witnesses," we have the ability to live out the Gospel by the Holy Spirit's empowerment! Those witnesses were made of the same flesh like we are; but, they lived by faith by the grace of God. Let us do the same! Jesus himself, fully human when he walked the lonely road to Calvary, had set for us the ultimate example; and, he bids us, "Deny yourself and take up your cross and follow Me."